The INTO LGBT+ Teachers’ Group are delighted to announce the return of the ‘Different Families, Same Love’ competition for May 2019.
To mark International Family Equality Day (IFED) and International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT), the competition asks primary teachers to take action in their classrooms to celebrate the diversity of people and families in Ireland and to address homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
An LGBT Ireland report in 2016 found that the most common age for an individual to realise their LGBT+ identity was 12 years old, which roughly equates to 6th class in primary school. It also found that in comparison with their peers, LGBT+ young people reported twice the level of self-harm, three times the level of attempted suicide and four times the level of severe or extremely severe stress, anxiety and depression.
Teachers, however, can make a positive difference to these worrying statistics by representing LGBT+ identities and families in a positive light through classroom discussions and activities. “When schools are proactive in ensuring positive LGBT+ representation and strive to make all children and young people feel included,” INTO state on their website, “all students have a greater sense of well-being.”
The ‘Different Families, Same Love’ competition offers teachers a chance to showcase their work in this regard and to win prizes for their classrooms to boot. Competition entries, like families, can take many forms and schools can choose to create individual, group or class artwork, comics, stories, poems, plays, songs, videos, or podcasts based on the theme ‘Different Families, Same Love.’ Entries will be judged on creativity, originality, relevance to the theme and how well the learning was shared with wider audiences.
Launching the competition, Cecelia Gavigan, Chairperson of the INTO LGBT+ Teachers’ Group, said, “Families are the primary lens through which children view the world. It is vitally important for each child, but especially those from same-sex headed families, to see all types of family positively represented in our classrooms. This competition, and the accompanying resources, is a great impetus to teachers to do just that.”
The return of the ‘Different Families, Same Love’ competition comes at a crucial time. With the debate over inclusive sex education still ongoing here in Ireland and lessons on LGBT+ rights causing ructions in Birmingham schools, it is essential that primary teachers use their time in the classroom to help those with diverse identities and family backgrounds to feel included.
“As a same sex parent to two young kids,” Ranae Von Meding has told GCN, “it’s so heartening to see such amazing initiatives in primary schools. This will help to promote awareness and acceptance of all family types. It gives me hope for the future and that when my children are in school, there will be a much greater level of understanding of LGBTQ+ families. And children will see that there are different families, but we are all the same.”
The closing date for entries is May 24, 2019. Further information can be found on INTO’s website.
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